Pennsylvania Conference for Women 2019
Written by: Catherine Stier
On October 2nd, a majority of Germer International’s team took the day off to join thousands of other professionals at the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference. As often as possible, we try to attend industry meetings and conferences to gain new ideas and exposure to how others are doing things. We heard from so many great speakers, authors and even the producer of When They See Us, Ava DuVernay. We thought we’d pass along some of the ideas that resonated most with us!
Here are some of our takeaways from this year’s conference:
I’m always interested in how other women talk about being leaders. I specifically enjoyed listening to Fawn Weaver: Author, Whiskey-Business Owner & Real Estate Investor. A few points I took away from her involvement in the “Foster your Inner Entrepreneur and Innovator” session include:
- When looking to expand your business, don’t look for a clone of yourself. Look for someone who motivates you, who you believe in and can cheer for. Give them the tools they need, and then cheer them on!
- Learn how to fail, make it a skill, learn how to deal with it emotionally – talk about it – fail as a team
- Fawn’s business’s org chart is not a pyramid but a lateral org chart. This idea has already inspired us at Germer to re-work how our org chart is laid out
- Having a great team involves having a competitive environment where everyone is still able to celebrate each other’s wins (We have this at Germer, but it’s always nice to know we’re heading in the right direction!)
The main theme and takeaway for me was that there was a strong effort to empower not just women, but men as well, to question the narrative t
hat you were raised to believe and then to be empowered to change that narrative. Some of the other points I took away include:
- Be focused on being brave and not perfect and to put yourself out there and be ok with making mistakes. Practice imperfection.
- Change the narrative for women that it’s important to take an interest in STEM and to take this into industry so women can be at the forefront of designing what we use everyday in our technologically advanced society.
- Learning from Elizabeth Gilbert that in order to go after what you want you have to make sacrifices in your life and you have to hold sacred what you are going to care about and what you are not going to care about.
- Create the career you want not the one that is determined for you. Know what’s important to you and make decisions on this foundation.
- As far as money and investing go, make sure you know your relationship to money based on how you were raised. Is it a healthy relationship? If not, make sure you change the narrative on what you want your relationship to money to be and make decisions based on this foundation. Make sure you are staying ahead of taxes and inflation. Make sure you hold yourself as an active investor and not a passive investor. Make sure you are investing 15% of what you are earning.
The morning keynote sessions over the past few years have had impactful speakers. Here at Germer we constantly talk about how important building habits is, which is why we found James Clear – this year’s keynote speaker – so interesting to listen to. After listening to his story during the morning session I was convinced to start reading his book: “Atomic Habits”. Some major takeaways from his talk include:
- Start small: make 1% improvement and focus on the power of tiny gains. If you start small and focus on the compound interest of self-improvement you will start to slowly build habits
- The two-minute goal: James Clear talked about the 2 minute goal and scaling down your habit to 2 minutes. You must establish a habit, even at 2 minutes, and then you can optimize your goal.
Often, I find myself setting a big goal, but it can all be started by starting small and focusing on building a 2-minute goal. By establish small goals and starting with just 2-minutes, it makes the larger goal seem much more manageable.
One of the break-out sessions I attended, “Live Richer with a One Week Budget,” focused on 10 steps to make your life more financially secure. We all know and have been told about the importance of living with a budget, but below are a few steps that I thought were interesting:
- ‘Put the Shovel Down’: Pay off your debt! You can either use the snowball method of paying off the smallest debt first and then moving upwards continuously increasing the amount you are paying off, or you can use the avalanche method, where you pay off the largest amount first to get rid of as much debt as you can in one go.
- ‘Scoring High’: Keep track of your credit score and pay your bills on time! Make sure that you are paying your credit card bills after the statement is posted, that way it counts towards your score. I didn’t realize that if you pay before the statement, it doesn’t actually impact your score since the debt isn’t technically recorded yet.
- ‘Noodle Plan’: Save for an emergency! Make sure you have at least 3 months of your expenses saved in case you lose your job, but be sure that you take into account how long it would take you to find another job… you might need more than 3 months.
The best part of the Women’s conference, in my opinion, were the real life skills and takeaways we were given that are simple, but necessary to be successful in everyday life.